Starwood announced the formation of (yet) another brand. The new chain is to be called Element according to a report in USA Today. Set in the extended stay segment, the brand will compete with Residence Inn and Homewood Suites – boring names in comparison. In naming the brand, Starwood seems to have been in its element – pun intended – and done what it does best – being ahead of the design and product curve. They have also smartly chosen a name that rolls off most tongues, foreign and domestic, easily with little chance of misinterpretation as in (in)famous bombs like NOVA for GMs cars which translated into “does not go” or the synthetic (and meaningless) “Allegis” in the 80’s for Westin’s parent at that time.
When W was announced some seven plus years ago, some skeptical industry insiders thought the idea of branding a boutique was an oxymoron. Clearly, the results have proven otherwise. Element likely will result in a roiling of the currently staid extended stay market and prove to be a home run for Westin and its parent, Starwood Hotels.